A Ballinrobe man who has thrown large amounts of rubbish, including soiled nappies, into the rear garden of his home has been given two weeks to get it cleaned up or else face jail.
Tom Sweeney of 7, Gort na Cloch, Ballinrobe had failed to appear before Castlebar District Court in May. The court heard how a three foot high ‘mountain’ of dirty nappies was among the large quantity of waste that residents Tom and Ann Sweeney had continually refused to remove from their own back garden.
A bench warrant was issued in May for their arrest.
At last Wednesday’s court Des Hannick, Environmental Enforcement Officer with Mayo County Council, said that nothing had been done to address the problem.
Tom Sweeney appeared before the court last Wednesday and produced a receipt for a skip which he said would arrive the following day. Judge Mary Devins said that one skip would not clear the rubbish.
Cathy McDarby, defending solicitor, said that her company had been putting pressure on the Sweeneys to get the matter sorted and that the garden was ‘disgusting’.
“I pity the poor people living nearby, they must have all sorts of furry friends,” she told the court. She asked for one adjournment to try to have the problem dealt with for once and for all.
Ward McEllin, solicitor representing Mayo County Council, said it was time something was done.
“You’ve young kids and one on the way and you are subjecting them and your neighbours to this squalor. The dirty nappies are thrown in a heap in your back garden. How can you consider this acceptable in a modern day society?” he said.
Judge Mary Devins said she didn’t know how a new-born baby could be brought home to such a dwelling and said if the HSE called they might find they need to take the children away.
“You are doing nothing else all day. The Government is giving you money hand over fist. Why don’t you get up and do some work? I wouldn’t allow a child of mine next nor near to that. You are bringing a new-born child home to that filth and dirt.” The court heard that the Sweeneys are in receipt of €430 in social welfare, €68 Rent Allowance and Children’s Allowance and Winter Fuel Allowance.
Judge Devins said the new child will have to cope with having their father in jail if the mess was not cleared up by the time of the next court sitting, July 18. Sweeney also has to bring evidence that he is subscribing to a regular bin collection.
A bench warrant was issued for Sweeney’s landlord, Alan Duffy of 20, Charlestown Park, St Margaret’s Road, Finglas, Dublin who failed to appear in relation to the charges.